What Kind of Life Will YOU Live?!?!

EA Sports NHL 2014 has been dropping videos and information like nobody’s business about this year’s offering.  An AI Improvements statement here, a goalkeeping improvement video there.  EA seems to be really getting us ready for the last major NHL game before the jump to next gen consoles and are just tossing out everything they can think of, Today there’s a brand new video highlighting the Be a Pro mode which made its debut in NHL 09.  More than just being a player in NHL 14, you also have this life outside of hockey.  Your personality will shine through and your formative trials n’ tribulations as a young lad growing up in the mean streets of Manitoba will show itself once you step on the rink.

Now its not just what you do on the ice that determines your progression to worlds greatest toothless guy who can probably squat around 690 pounds, its how you handle yourself off the ice which determines your career progression.  Thinking about carrying an unlicensed gun in a nightclub wearing sweaties? I wouldn’t do that.  Wanna go home with that stripper from the club while you’re wife is at home with two kids? Probably not a good idea (ed.note: Says you).

During your life as a professional you’ll have to learn how to handle the media.  You can be of the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning breed and constantly just say the right things and always do whats best for the team.  Or…..you can take the Sean Avery route. You decide.

You’ll be interviewed before you enter the draft. You’ll be interviewed about pre-game jitters and post-game regrets.  You also better watch out for those off the field instances that fell many a career.  Do you really NEED to have a dog fighting ring in your backyard?  Do you really NEED to bring weed on an airplane on the way to a music festival?  You love wearing Unforgiveable cologne by Sean John?  Play well enough and Diddy will be begging you to be the face of his product along with all other sorts of endorsement deals.  Finally, Likeability meters detect (ed.note: WHAT DO THEY DETECT??) how well you are like by your teammates, management, and most importantly, the fans.  You can be like Mariano Rivera/Derek Jeter and have people begging you to be their teammates.  Or you can completely isolate yourself like A-Rod and management will want nothing more then to get you out of the clubhouse.

Enough with the real life comparisons, I know.  On a serious not there are actually some pretty interesting concepts and ideas that are integrated in this completely overhauled mode.  My personal favorite is that if you’re a bad teammate, your teammates won’t pass you the puck as much.  A hockey regular season is 82 games plus the playoffs.  I believe it would be very hard to find time to enjoy 10-15 seasons of this.  My approach to these types of modes is simply just to not play every game, Play the important games and the playoff games.  Tight race for first with the three games to go…  Hop on in.  Middle of the season and playing a last place team… I’ll pass.  My one question, and this will determine if I do this…. Do I have to control just my player or can I play as the whole team like you can in the FIFA franchise?

For die hard hockey fans this really is an awesome and time consuming mode which gets you really involved. This, coupled with the plethora of new improvements to gameplay, shows that the NHL franchise on current gen systems is leaving it all out on the ice.

Final Fight

EA Sports today..er yesterday..( a bit late sorry) released their 3rd and final video highlighting the improvements made to the latest installment of the NHL Franchise.  This one highlights the newly implemented Enforcer Engine, created for use in the Fight Night franchise.  These fights now have a 3rd person perspective and it will use a physics-based punch targeting.  Player size differentiation, user-controlled celebrations afterwards, and damage that remains through the entirety of the game round out the litany of changes.  EA announced that NHL won’t be coming to any next-gen consoles.  Is this a bad thing? Maybe not.  I don’t know how many next-gen titles people are going to buy right off the bat. You can only play one game at a time right?  EA is doing the smart thing here.  Put all your energy into this generation and make it an awesome experience.

Now that all three videos are available, here is a classic fight starring the great Patrick Roy facing off against Chris Osgood.

One-Touch Dekes and True Performance Skating

In this, EA’s second of their three part series showcasing new additions to NHL 14, we see one-touch dekes and an improved physics-based skating engine.  The one-touch offer a more user friendly way of pulling this maneuver by just using the left stick and one button.  As for the physics engine EA says it has “improved balance between speed and momentum, quicker pivots and enhanced lateral skating”  I added a video that Sportscenter made highlighting the best dekes.  Here is hoping that the NY Rangers can coerce Marek Malik out of retirement and use some of his magic against the Bruins.

I’m Gonna Make Gretzky Bleed..or Just Fall to the Ground In the Most Realistic Way Possible

No more bleeding in sports video games anymore. Sad I know, but that doesn’t mean all the fun and hard hitting is taken out of sports games.  EA today released a new trailer highlighting their improved collision physics that will be used in NHL 14.

While you’re at it hockey fans, head on over to the cover vote website and vote for who you want on the cover of NHL 14.

VPH Looks Ahead: NHL 14

The 2012-2013 NHL season hasn’t even reached the playoffs yet but EA decided to reveal the announcement trailer for NHL ’14 anyway.  All I have to say is WOW.  One of my first posts for MB was about the lack of effort put into welcoming first time gamers into the world of an NHL game.   Not to say that EA would concern themselves with the plebes this time around either. The WOW factor is entirely based on the trailer.  The way it moves from live to in-game action is  stellar. Sometimes I couldn’t even make out which one was which. (Check out the Semin to Tlusty doozy at the :39 mark)  EA revealed a few of the new gameplay mechanics and features as well.  With sports game I usually take a 1 year break between titles.  I mean, how much can actually change in a year?  Perfect example: the MLB 2k13 fiasco.

“We’re very proud of the history of innovation that the EA SPORTS NHL franchise has produced on this console generation, and this year we’re amplifying that innovation by leveraging technology from teams like FIFA and Fight Night.  We’re very proud of the history of innovation that the EA SPORTS NHL franchise has produced on this console generation, and this year we’re amplifying that innovation by leveraging technology from teams like FIFA and Fight Night,” says Dean Richards, General Manager, NHL, EA SPORTS. “This year fans will feel the speed, skill and aggression of NHL hockey like never before, powered by some of the best EA SPORTS technology to create the best game we could ever imagine.”

According to Joystiq, the game will have a ton of new additions and tweeks to both offline and online modes.   The list includes new collision physics (used in FIFA), the Enforcer Engine (used in Fight Night), True-Performance Skating, One-Touch dekes, updates on Be a Pro, and updates to the Hockey Ultimate Team and EASports Hockey League. EA Vancouver will be using said physics engine for the first time although it was first utilized in FIFA 12, by EA Canada.  Since then some  of the kinks have been hammered out, here’s hoping we see none of this: